Training your dog the Watch Me command can come in very useful. It is a simple way to redirect your dog’s attention and help break his focus on distractions by having him look at you instead. The Watch Me command can also come in handy during exams at the vet or when there’s a need to give your dog medications-such as ear drops. When you teach the Watch Me command, you are teaching, look at me, focus on me, look at my face. Watch Me is actually a very easy command to teach and there is no easier or better command to practice on a cold or rainy day.
Teaching the Watch Me Command
- Take some dog treats and have them ready.
- Start by standing or sitting facing your dog.
- The moment your dog looks in your face, add the cue word “Watch Me” and treat.
- You can make a sound with your mouth to help grab your dog’s attention.
- Praise and give your dog a treat when he looks you in the eyes.
- Or, if you use a clicker, click and treat.
- If your dog does not look at you, move the treat toward your eyes to draw his attention to you.
- Do not say “Watch Me” until he looks you in the eye. Never give the command while the focus is on the treat.
- Practice the command several times a day until the command is learned.
- When practicing, use different body positions (standing, sitting, laying down), while your dog is heeling, in a sit, off leash, etc.
- After your dog has Watch Me down in the house, practice outside, at the park, in the car, with distractions to keep training and challenging your dog until he always looks to you when he hears the words, “Watch Me.”
- When practicing Watch Me, extend the time your dog looks at you by withholding the praise or click for a beat or two then click/praise and treat. If your dog looks away before you have a chance to click/praise and treat, practice some more so your dog does not leave the session disappointed.
- Once your dog performs Watch Me consistently, when practicing, reduce the number of treats to approximately every 4 or 5 commands until you are eventually offering only verbal praise.
Training Tip: When teaching this command, keep the training up beat and fun. Smile at your dog. Never stare or loom down or over your dog or he’ll become uncomfortable or can interpret extended direct eye contact as a threat. If your dog is submissive and avoids eye contact, look at the top of your dog’s head or ears so he won’t feel the need to submit and look away.